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  • Why not build your own home? There are plenty of books that show how Ė check out your local library. Building your own home little by little over a five-year period sure beats a 30-year mortgage!

  • Be trendy. Buy a warehouse, convert part of it into residential accommodation and rent out the rest. That way you get a roof over your head and income. Many businesses like the security of having someone living on the property.

  • Buy the shell and finish the interior yourself on a pay as you go basis. This means you avoid having to pay interest on money you didnít have when the house was built.

  • If building your own home or renovating, why not buy an old barn or building for demolition? Buy the whole building for a song, the some of the materials on your own house, and sell what you canít use.

Country life

  • If buying a section why not buy in the country? Sometimes 10 acres costs less than a ľ acre in town. It also gives you the freedom to grow your own food and run livestock. Look particular for properties with standing timber that may be milled for building materials. A reader writes that they built a house from trees on their property, and saved about 2/3rds the normal price.


  • Make sure you are receiving the various accommodation grants you may be entitled to.

Free accommodation

  • Receive accommodation in return for work. I know of one person who lives in a sea-side property rent free. In return for free rent they do two days landscaping work on the property, mowing lawns, etc. As a result they live in a modern cottage with a fantastic outlook and donít pay a cent!


  • Looking around our home, I realise most of the furniture is recycled. My husband made the dining table out of planks from his Dad, the chairs don't match but I painted them all the same. When my mother in law downsized, I painted all the garden furniture which she had no need for. The lounge suite, piano, coffee tables were all passed on. We even scored the kitchen bench from someone who was doing up an old house. Friends had concrete laundry tubs lying in long grass and an old chip heater and hot water cylinder in their garage. We have found that people doing up houses are reluctant to chuck their old stuff on the tip, so we take things away Ė including a house-lot of windows from a home being refitted with aluminium frames, which the owner was going to have to pay to dump at the tip. We never say no to an offer and over time have passed on only a few things we couldn't use. - JB, Whangarei. 

Motor homes

  • Live in a motor home/bus, van etc and join the assoc to get tips about places where you can still camp for free. - E.L., Christchurch.


  • Having trouble paying your rates? Some council let you defer rates payments until the property is sold. You have to pay interest on the balance and there may be some establishment costs, but it is there for those finding it hard to make ends meet. The councils known to offer a rates deferral scheme are:

                  Western Bay of Plenty District Council >>>.
                  Far North District Council >>>
                  Rodney District Council >>>
                  Thames Coromandel District Council >>>
                  Waikato Regional Council >>>
isborne District Council >>>

Renting / Sharing

  • I cut my rent in half by flatting with an old high school friend and some other people. At the same time I recently had a 25% pay rise because I changed jobs, so I am saving at a much better rate. - Kim, Auckland.

  • Share a house with others. Communal living can be fun and will slash living costs. Or take in borders. Out of town students looking for a stable domestic environment.


  • Live in a garage for a while. With very little modification a two-car garage makes a cozy little bungalow at negligible cost. And where you are able to build the house (without borrowing) you will have a sleep-out for the kids or guests.

Transportable homes

  • Why not buy an existing home for removal and resite it onto a section? Sometimes you camn buy old houses for a steal, but do carefully check out the relocation costs Ė sometimes this costs as much as the house itself.


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